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Canada's passport application backlog 'completely eliminated,' minister says

Families, Children and Social Development Minister Karina Gould speaks about Canadian passports, Tuesday, March 21, 2023 in the Foyer of the House of Commons in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA — Families Minister Karina Gould announced today that the federal government has now "completely eliminated" the backlog of passport applications that caused major delays — and major political strife — last year. 

She also announced that Ottawa is launching a new digital tool that will allow Canadians to check the status of their Service Canada application online, as long as they provide an email address.

The update comes after Gould said in late January that the backlog was "virtually eliminated," with the exception of some complex cases held back for reasons such as child-custody issues.

The pandemic had caused a nearly two-year lull in passport applications, but demand skyrocketed once people began travelling again, leading Service Canada to double the number of employees processing passports last year.

Gould told reporters today that she can guarantee that people who apply for passports will now get them on time, and she urged people whose passports expire in 2023 to get them renewed immediately.   

The minister says there are plans in place in case another backlog occurs, but she did not offer details about what those plans are. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 21, 2023. 


This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press

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